Thursday, August 22, 2013

Essay on Inferno

The author of the comedy, Dante was reported to have been born in Florence in 1265. The author’s family was not poor and as such he had a good basic education, and even managed  to further his studies exploring Latin, poetry, art, philosophy, history and biblical studies (Lawall & Maynard 1). It is reported that he was studious and private by nature and is unlikely to have produced the comedy had he not started serving the public in various councils and capacities. Politics in Florence was a dangerous game, and during one of his many trips away, his detractors hatched a plot that saw him decide to stay away from the city and live in Northern Italy. It was while here that he began writing his great work that is the subject of this report (Lawall & Maynard 1).

The author in creating the comedy diverged considerably from many norms followed by poets of this era. For example, it’s the first major literature of its time to use Italian vernacular instead of the Florentine dialect. It is reported that due to such divergence Italian vernacular and not Florentine dialect is today the national language (Lawall & Maynard 3).

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Selecting Circles Of Dante's Version Of Hell And Explain How The Punishment Fits The Sin
In addition to variation in language the author also used a considerably different style presentation a sis seen in the three line stanzas and changes in canticles. The author calls the comedy a work of morality and the goal of the poem is to call people to follow the good life as a way to happiness.

In Dante’s poetic depiction of hell, it is divided into nine major circles. Of the nine circles, eight correspond to levels of sin. The first circle is an exception, where the worthy unbaptised, people from before Christianity are punished for the fault of not being baptized (Lawall & Maynard 8). As one goes deeper into hell, the circles get progressively worse both in terms of sin and punishment. The purpose of this report is to provide a brief glimpse of the punishments for different sins. To accomplish this, three sins will be selected and their corresponding punishments. It should be noted that these sins involve breaking God’s eternal law and for which repentance has not been obtained. These sins can be classified as the ‘seven deadly sins’ or cardinal sins. Their punishment is harsh due to their cardinality, as all other sins stems from these roots (Lawall & Maynard 8).

The nature of punishment for the sins is based on Aristotelian philosophy of reciprocity, ‘an eye for an eye’ . For this reason many sins have a significant resemblance to the act itself, for instance the lustful are constantly blown about by winds just as they allowed their passions drive them to distraction. In a similar fashion diviners have their heads turned back, just as they often made claims of possessing an ability to look forward into the future. The wrathful are made constant subjects of each other’s anger and the people who shed blood are immersed in boiling blood and attacked by ferocious beasts each time they surface for air . Though the comedy appears to concur with classical Christian concepts, the main difference in the comedy lies in Dante’s classification of sins. For example as opposed to using the seven cardinal sins, the author comes up with additional classifications. The author includes sins of ‘incontinence’, ‘mad brutishness’ or ‘malice ’ .

Though the sins remain the same, this classification introduces new concepts such as appetite and uses this to create a list of simple and complex sins of the appetite . The use of vulgar language by the author is aimed at making the reading appealing to all, and its wide acceptance is proof of the literary genius behind this work.
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